A Message for You

God holds the future

by REV. LAURIE TENHAVE-CHAPMAN
First Congregational Church, Rockford

As I walked my dog around the lake in temperatures nearing 50 degrees, I thought back to the headliner forecasts in November. “Harsh Winter Ahead” the meteorologists warned from the newspaper, broadcast studio and Internet news. I remember thinking, “How do they know?” If the 10-day prediction is a guess and the next-day forecast is seldom right, then how can they offer a broad brushstroke prediction for a whole season? “What do they know indeed?” I snorted as I walked on soft soil in early January. (But I knocked on the wood of a nearby tree to make sure!)

People like to make predictions and are heralded as true seers when they get it right. Particularly as a new year looms before us, prophets of all stripes are apt to cast their verdict for how reality will shape up the next 12 months. Most of us do not hasten to read the predictions of Jean Dixon or those who have taken over for her in recent years. We’ve learned that envisioning the future is of limited value.

What we hopefully have learned is that God alone holds the future. Our best investment of time and energy is in a spiritual life that helps us to know and trust more and more deeply the God who created this Earth in which the snow falls, the storms squall and the sun shines. What we know for sure is that we will have moments of great joy in 2012, surprising beginnings and unexpected endings. There will be losses both great and small, some emotional, some financial, others relational. Through all this we have to know what remains constant. Trust in anyone or anything other than the God who knows and loves us would be misplaced. The Bible describes God as an anchor, a rock, a redeemer, a refuge, a fortress that protects us from enemies. The Bible also says that God is love.

So take that walk around the lake as long as you can. Snap on your cross-country skis when snow blankets the ground. When the storms force you to hibernate and your kids get their long-awaited snow day, reflect on the One who provides for your every need. Whatever each day brings, invite God to walk with you, to direct your paths and you will not be rocked by the ups and downs of life. Trust God and you will know deep contentment in the new year.

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